A Salute to Andy Mogren

Posted on September 2, 2014

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This year I spent my entire Labor Day lying in bed recovering from my friend Andy Mogren’s Minnesota-north-woods-cabin bachelor party. (Ohhyaaguy). There was far too much meat to digest, beer to metabolize, and sleep to catch up on to allow me to do anything else.

While I have zero regrets about the self-abuse just described, I DO regret not telling a better “Andy Mogren Story” when prompted.  And I’d like to rectify that here.

After dinner one night someone suggested, “Let’s all tell a story about Andy!”  I happened to be put on the spot second, and I hadn’t had enough time (or available brain-power) to think of something both funny and meaningful, so I just went with funny. This was a bachelor party after all; not Oprah. I wasn’t self-assured (or excusably intoxicated) enough to get all mushy around a group of dudes I didn’t know all that well. I panicked, quickly relating a brief tale that involved basement karoake, microphone penises, and a mylar balloon.

It was a passable story under the circumstances, but the only takeaway for the listener is “man, Andy can sure be wacky, amirite you guys?!”  There was more I wanted to say, and more I continued to think of saying as I experienced Andy-being-Andy throughout the rest of the weekend.


I first met Andy in a Thai restaurant slash laundromat in LA’s Koreatown neighborhood in 2009.  He had invited me to lunch to talk about showbiz or whatever since we were both from Minnesota, living in Los Angeles, making comedy sketches for the internet.

This is pretty much how most of my relationships started out there.  “Hey, you make stuff. I make stuff. We should make something together.” “You know this guy. I know that guy. Wanna grab lunch or coffee sometime?”  Some people you get close to, some you don’t.

That year in LA I worked and laughed with a lot of people on a lot of projects before I quit Hollywood.  When I left I felt like I had plenty of friends who I could call up and visit anytime.

Throughout the last five years, though, Andy is the only person of all of those people who has made any effort to maintain our friendship and professional relationship.  And I’m talkin’ ABOVEANDBEYOND style effort.

Most of the time in Hollywood, people are only interested in you as long as you can help them with their careers.  That sounds super gross, but after my own experience, it’s hard to even blame them.  Scrambling your way up the fame ladder out there is fully-consuming.  If you’re serious about where you’re trying to get to it’s honestly more like “people CAN ONLY BE interested in you as long as you can help them with their careers.” So while it was disappointing, it wasn’t too surprising a few months after moving back to Minnesota when I messaged someone I considered a very close friend, saying “Hey, I’m thinking of visiting LA soon.  Can I take you up on that offer to stay at your place?” and getting zero response.

But Andy somehow has the superhuman heart that allows him to work his ass off everyday in Hollywood and still always include me (and I’m sure others) in his projects and his personal life.  And it’s not like the guy is hurting for friends or talented collaborators.  This former high school homecoming king is the most instantly likable, outgoing person I’ve ever met.  Anyone would jump at the chance (like I routinely do) to go see a Twins game or Tom Cruise movie with him.  AND, there are surely a ton of people in Los Angeles better suited than I (or at least more recognizable than I) to be cast, for example, as head of the Secret Service in Bear Force One, but Andy still goes above and beyond to always make room for me in his award-winning creations.

So Andy… besides the stuff about that time we smashed up a giant balloon with microphone dicks while singing Nickelback karaoke songs… I also wanted to say all that lame stuff too. Thank you for everything. It truly means a lot. You’re an inspiration. A model citizen. Other cliche but absolutely true things.

A trillion toasts to you, my friend — on your engagement — and also just your overall winningness at life.  When you make it big, you’re going to be that Tom Hanks type of celebrity.  The type whose work is universally beloved, but whose personality and humanity is loved even more.

You’re also a sick kneeboarder, bro.

And to the three or four people who will accidentally end up being the entire audience of this blog post after Googling “Nickelback parady” (sic) and clicking the wrong link, be sure to also check out Andy’s stuff.

 

 

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